Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Beginning of (untitled) story

The first encounter I had with the horse world was when my little sister, Amy, had a pony party for her third birthday. I was six at the time, and the only thing I vividly remember is the pungent smell of crap and a snappy little beast named Sunshine that bit my hand when I tried to feed it a carrot. Amy eventually took up horseback riding as a hobby, and although I learned a thing or two through osmosis I never really took interest myself. I'm not really a horse person, let alone an animal person. I'm not even a people person, really, but when you're a detective you kind of have to deal with people. Pungent crap and all.
So when I got the call that there was a murder at Fair Oaks Stables, a hoity-toity equestrian facility off the North highway, I instinctively growled in disgust. It wasn't so much the horses I was worried about, because at least they don't talk. It was the people. Rich horse people are worse than country club people, because not only do they flaunt their money in the form of nice cars and fancy houses, but they pour it on their animals as well. Think of the heiress-types with their dressed-up Chihuahuas under their arms and then multiple the Chihuahuas by about a thousand pounds. That's a show horse. Big and expensive and dressed to the nines in braids and polish and expensive leather. They eat better than we do and they only work for about three hours a day - then they get a massage, a sponge bath, and then they go back to eating. Dear God what I'd give to be one of those animals.
You might think it's strange that there'd be a murder at an equestrian show stable, a cesspool of money and wealth and filth and prestige. But rich people are really no different than the rest of us. They kill people too, probably just as much as regular people. The only difference is that they tend to be less clever. They think their money will save them - and most of the time it does. But this time, the police were involved. They called me: Detective Ben Sanders; mid-thirties, single, middle-class, and cynical.

{{ P.S. just so everyone knows... I actually really love horses and this doesn't necessarily reflect my true feelings about the horse world... just thought I'd take a different spin on it. :) }}

1 comment:

Chris Newfield said...

This is really interesting and crisp. You can really use paragraphs and have a great sense of stopping and starting and how to round things out with an opinion from your narrator that follows up on the description but doesn't replace it. At the same time, the descriptions are opinionated enough for the reader to have a very clear sense of the narrator's personality (show horse as dressed-up Chihuahua - very memorable). I agree with what people said in class that the last sentence probably isn't necessary. And of course you've gotten us to the moment in which the mystery is about to appear but it hasn't appeared yet.

I went to a reading this week by a poet and novelist originally from South Africa - Yvette Christianse. Someone asked her about how you know when the voice is right and she said you know it's right when the thing you are hearing (or reading on your computer) doesn't talk like you do, but has taken on a sound and rhythm of its own). I think something like that is happening here, and it may be because you deliberately wrote in the voice of someone not like you rather in that of someone who is. very nice! CN